Scroll through Internet sources for Scenic Route to Alaska and the common label applied to the trio is “pop” or “pop-rock."
“We’re not really a pop band. I like to think of us as prairie indie,” said vocalist Trevor Mann. The threesome also includes Murray Wood on bass and Shea Connor on vocals and drums.
Although entertainment venues have unlocked their doors, Scenic Route to Alaska (SRA) has been cautious about booking extended tours across Canada and Europe. Instead, they’ve opted to perform hometown shows and single weekend gigs across Alberta.
SRA, who last played at the inaugural 2015 Seven Music Fest, is back once more for a performance at the Arden Theatre’s Plaza Series on Thursday, Aug. 11.
It’s one of their first shows since COVID’s March 2020 shutdown. During the pandemic, most musicians frantically kick-started online festivals and street shows. SRA chose a more laid-back approach, one that refreshed their creative juices.
“To tell you the truth we didn’t do much. The biggest thing was getting back to being friends, which was great,” said Mann. “Part of what is most exciting is that Murray got married and we’re building a studio in his basement. If things shut down again, we’ll have space and can contribute to the world.”
Prior to the pandemic, the trio was gaining national and international recognition through long, grinding tours.
“Travel gives you a great perspective on life. But it can also leave you callous. It can happen when you’re touring for 60 nights straight, you’re singing and having a grocery list running through your head. The pandemic gave us an appreciation for being on stage and in the moment. It helped ground us.”
Since the trio first burst onto the Edmonton music scene in 2011, SRA recorded five albums: Scenic Route to Alaska (2011), Warrington (2014), Long Walk Home (2016), Tough Luck (2018), and Time for Yourself (2020).
As the primary songwriter, Mann explained that the band’s biggest change in its 12-year odyssey is a more mature form of communication that has laid the groundwork for a newfound confidence.
“Some of our early songs come from a place of teenage angst and love and loss. I grew up with the Beatles, after all. As we’ve gotten older, we feel more comfortable singing about life, loss, and mortality. I haven’t shied away from difficult topics. But my songs are usually stream of consciousness and you get a glimpse into my chaotic mind. I write for therapy, and it depends what my mind is focused on,” Mann said.
SRA tends to not prepare concert set lists, preferring instead to go with the flow.
“I want people who come to a concert to feel comfortable, share a safe space, and let the good vibes wash over you. We’re not going to have a laser show at the plaza. We’re a simple three-piece. We take pride in being simple yet being able to showcase a nice, rich sound.”
Scenic Route to Alaska performs Thursday, Aug. 11 at 7:30 p.m. on St. Albert Place Plaza, 5 St. Anne St. Tickets are $15, or $120 for a premium table for six. Tickets are available online at www.stalbert.ca or at 780-459-1542.